Chicago photo ban at train stations
More good news. I pulled this off a train geek site after I saw a blurb in one of are local rags.
"August 16, 2006
CHICAGO - Union Pacific Railroad has announced that with the recent
increase in security concerns across the United States, it will no
longer allow photography of trains from Metra station platforms in
the Chicago area. Metra is the region's commuter-train agency.
"We recognize that railroad fans can be our eyes and ears out
there," said UP spokesman Mark Davis. "But we live in different
times. The number one concern for Union Pacific is the safety of
everyone. Right now, and since 9/11, security has been heightened
and increased. This is part of that effort." Davis added that, "This
stuff about UP not liking railfans is not true. But we have to be as
safe and secure as we can."
Metra was pulled into the photography-rights controversy last year
when two railroad fans were detained by Morton Grove, Ill.,
municipal police and Metra police while photographing trains from
the public train-boarding platforms at town's Metra station. That
route, the Milwaukee District North Line, is owned by Metra. Union
Pacific owns the property on its three commuter routes, and UP
employees operate the trains under contract to Metra.
After the glare of publicity enveloped the Motron Grove incident,
Metra recanted its position and publicly reversed its stance, saying
it would allow photography of trains from its stations.
Metra spokesman Tom Miller today told Trains News Wire that as long
as people are in areas accessible to the public, are acting in a
safe manner, and are willing to provide identification if asked by
authorities, that Metra has no problem with them taking photos. "But
as far as the UP policy, we have no comment on that," Miller said.
UP might be on shaky legal ground if it attempts to enforce its ban.
Attorney Walter Zullig, who did legal work for New York's Metro
North Commuter Railroad, today told Trains News Wire, "There is
nothing in statute that prohibits photography from public areas.
There is no federal law on this, and nothing from Homeland Security.
The U.S. Supreme Court considers photography a part of free speech
protected under the First Amendment."
In a column that will appear in the October 2006 issue of TRAINS
Magazine, Zullig writes that research has not turned up any state
law on the subject in existence anywhere. According to Zullig,
railfans have the legal and constitutional right to photograph
whatever they please from locations "open to the public," which
would seem to include Metra and other passenger-train-boarding
Maryland's MTA rapid-transit and commuter-train system has a photo
ban on MARC commuter trains, which run on CSX and Amtrak trackage,
as well as the Baltimore subway and light-rail systems, but Zullig
believes there is no legal basis for the ban and is attempting to
get MTA to explain its legal basis for it.
Both the New York City Transit Agency, which operates the city's
vast subway system, and New Jersey Transit, which operates commuter
trains and bus and trolley lines throughout the Garden State,
attempted to adopt photography bans but withdrew their proposals
after a flood of negative comments and threatened lawuits on
Public financial support of transit and commuter facilities may or
may not have any bearing on the legality of such bans. In the Union
Pacific instance, UP, a private railroad, contracts with Metra, a
public entity, to provide the commuter-train service, on three
routes out of Chicago. Metra uses tax money to fund the service and
maintain the station facilities, including the train-boarding
end quoted material.
In other news, the SP Heritage loco is going to be unveiled at
Roseville this Saturday. The event is supposedly only open to UP
employees and their families. The locomotive arrived in Roseville
under tarps yesterday. One UP employee stated that security around
the unit is tighter than airport security. The CRSM SP Daylight E
unit is also up at Roseville for the ceremony.